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Judge refuses to delay ruling on subpoenas

August 27, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A federal judge who ruled last month that top White House advisors must comply with congressional subpoenas refused to put that ruling on hold Tuesday while the Bush administration appeals.

The House Judiciary Committee wants to force White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers to testify about the firing of federal prosecutors and the politicization of the Justice Department.

The White House contends that top aides are immune from such subpoenas.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates rejected that argument last month but the Bush administration appealed. The White House said it should not have to comply with the subpoenas while it appeals.

Bates, who was appointed by President Bush, said a delay would not be in the public interest.

If a delay is granted, he said, "There is a very strong possibility that the committee will be unable to complete its investigation before Congress expires. That may leave important public concerns regarding the nation's federal criminal justice system unaddressed."

Bates also rejected the core of the government's argument: that it was likely to prevail at the appeals court.

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